Jun 14, 2012

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein Review

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Release Date: May 15, 2012
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children; 343 pages

Oct. 11th, 1943—A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

Wow. First, I am shocked because it has never taken me nearly two weeks to finish a book (though, I guess you really can't count the week I was in NYC for BEA because I got absolutely no reading done) and when books do take me a week-ish to read, I get really frustrated with myself. This doesn't mean it was a bad book, obviously by my rating, it just means it wasn't one of those 'quick reads' I'm used to. Second, this story was absolutely amazing and heartbreaking.

It's a tale of two best friends, how they're friendship begun and how, even through distance and work, they're still able to stay best friends. Verity is taken captive and held prisoner by the Nazi's while she thinks that Maddie is dead.

The first part of the book is written from Verity's point of view. Basically the Captain has demanded her tell him any secrets of the British so he could use it to their advantage. She has agreed and writes her entire story down on all sorts of paper, include sheet music, recipes and literally anything they can find for her. Verity brings a lot of humor and wit to the story, which is amazing even while she's being tortured and threatened. To be that brave is just breathtaking, really. Her story isn't for the Captain so much as it is for someone who might find it after she's gone. She knows her fate and really, in a way, she's accepted it.

I really enjoyed the second half of the story more than the first half. It didn't have the amount of humor as the first half but somehow, it was more addicting. Maybe because there was more action? I'm not really sure but I had a lot more trouble putting this book down for this half than I did for the first. I can't really say much about it without spoiling, and you don't want to be spoiled so I know it's a big vague (sorry!).

I'm not one that reads a lot of the historical fiction but I kept seeing so much buzz about this book that I had to give it a try. I'm so glad I did. There wasn't much 'romance' in this book but again, this book didn't need it. That's not what the story was about and frankly, it would've taken away from the story and the characters. Code Name Verity was beautifully written, brilliantly put together and something I would definitely recommend to anyone who was looking for something different and refreshing (in a weird way) to read. It definitely was the type of break I needed from YA fantasy/paranormal. If you're a fan of historical fiction, I would assume this would be right up your alley and would enjoy it as well! Be prepared to be heartbroken, though.

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